Just over 350 R&B songs entered Billboard's main R&B singles chart in 1990. Through October 20, the chart was known as Hot Black Singles, and then it was re-named Hot R&B Singles, despite rap's looming dominance. Below is a ranked list of personal favorites from the year. Label of release and date of entry appear in brackets.

Going by this 100%-subjective list, four production duos ran 1990. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were behind all the Janet Jackson hits, the one from their reunited Time, and one each from New Edition members Ralph Tresvant and man of the year Johnny Gill. The latter two are the list's most contrasting songs; Jam and Lewis were still delivering jams of varying speeds and emotions with equal potency. Just behind: Babyface and L.A. Reid (numbers 12, 17, 31, 35, 40), Jazzie B and Nellee Hooper (25, 26, and remixes of 36, 37), and Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy (one, 26). Dr. Freeze came out of nowhere with number three and hit six months later with number 11. Guy's Teddy Riley, the do-it-all who inspired journalist Barry Michael Cooper to neologize new jack swing, wasn't quite as prolific as he was from 1987 through 1989, but was behind several remixes and near misses. Dozens of distant misses were poor and/or comical imitations of his style.

On the other side of the glass, there were many remarkable breakthroughs and debuts: En Vogue, Soul II Soul refugee Wheeler, Donny Hathaway's daughter Lalah -- the last of whom received help from under-recognized demigod Àngela Winbush, who also wrote and produced her own hits -- and, of course, instant and lasting superstar Mariah Carey.

1. En Vogue - "Hold On" [Atlantic, 3/24]
2. Caron Wheeler - "Livin' in the Light" [EMI, 9/8]
3. Bell Biv DeVoe - "Poison" [MCA, 3/10]
4. Janet Jackson - "Alright" [A&M, 4/7]
5. Tony! Toni! Toné! - "It Never Rains (In Southern California)" [Wing, 10/13]
6. The Chimes - "Heaven" [Columbia, 7/7]
7. Prince - "Thieves in the Temple" [Paisley Park, 8/4]
8. Janet Jackson - "Escapade" [A&M, 1/20]
9. Tony! Toni! Toné! - "Feels Good" [Wing, 6/30]
10. Johnny Gill - "Rub You the Right Way" [Motown, 3/17]

11. Lisa Stansfield - "All Around the World" [Arista, 1/27]
12. Today - "I Got the Feeling" [Motown, 9/8]*
13. After 7 - "Can't Stop" [Virgin, 6/2]
14. Guy - "I Wanna Get with U" [MCA, 10/20]
15. Janet Jackson - "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" [A&M, 11/17]
16. Àngela Winbush f/ Ronald Isley - "Lay Your Troubles Down" [Mercury, 6/2]
17. Howard Hewett - "Show Me" [Elektra, 3/3]*
18. Johnny Gill - "Fairweather Friend" [Motown, 8/25]
19. Lalah Hathaway - "Baby Don't Cry" [Virgin, 11/17]
20. Troop - "Spread My Wings" [Atlantic, 1/27]

21. The Time - "Jerk Out" [Paisley Park, 6/30]
22. Mac Band - "Love U 2 the Limit" [MCA, 12/1]
23. Àngela Winbush - "No More Tears" [Mercury, 2/24]
24. The Chimes - "1-2-3" [Columbia, 1/6]
25. Soul II Soul - "A Dreams a Dream" [Virgin, 6/2]
26. En Vogue - "You Don't Have to Worry" [Atlantic, 11/3]
27. Anita Baker - "Fairy Tales" [Elektra, 12/15]
28. Loose Ends - "Don't Be a Fool" [MCA, 11/3]
29. Mariah Carey - "Vision of Love" [Columbia, 6/2]
30. Jane Child - "Don't Wanna Fall in Love" [Warner, 4/14]

31. Johnny Gill - "My, My, My" [Motown, 6/2]
32. Lonnie Liston Smith f/ Phyllis Hyman - "Obsession" [Startrak, 6/2]*
33. Ten City - "Whatever Makes You Happy" [Atlantic, 11/3]*
34. Ralph Tresvant - "Sensitivity" [MCA, 10/27]
35. Whitney Houston - "I'm Your Baby Tonight" [Arista, 10/20]
36. Alyson Williams - "I Need Your Lovin'" [OBR, 1/20]
37. The Family Stand - "Ghetto Heaven" [Atlantic, 4/14]
38. Janet Jackson - "Come Back to Me" [A&M, 6/30]
39. Take 6 - "I L-O-V-E U" [Reprise, 9/29]
40. Jeff Redd - "I Found Lovin'" [Uptown, 1/27]*

*These songs are not available on Spotify in the U.S. Favorites 41-45 appear in their place, at the end of the playlist.